Moshe Stempel – Purim And Nature

Tonight R’ Bamberger continued to discuss the topic of Purim. Tonight’s vaad was based on the sefer Michtav Me’eliyahu by R’ Eliyahu Dessler.

Chazal tell us that G-d always creates the remedy before He creates the problem when He punishes the Jewish people. In his sefer Ohr Chadash, the Maharal explains this phenomenon as follows: When G-d punishes non-Jews, His intent is that they should suffer. The suffering isn’t there to stimulate them to repent. However, when G-d punishes Jews, His intent is not merely to inflict pain. Rather, the suffering is there to stimulate us to repent for something.

When we examine the Purim story, we discover that all of Haman’s plans backfired on himself. After he advised Achashveirosh to kill Queen Vashti, Esther became the new queen. Haman’s attempts to persuade Achashveirosh to kill the Jewish people led to the execution of his own family. When Haman explained to the king how he wanted to be honored, he was forced to honor Mordechai in that same fashion. Finally, when Haman removed the supporting beam from his mansion to hang Mordechai, he and his sons were ultimately hanged on the same gallows. The perfection of G-d’s Justice is best portrayed when evil people are punished for their sins measure for measure.

The Ramban emphasizes that the miracles that took place in Egypt during the Exodus were supernatural in nature. However, all the miracles that took place during the Purim story were hidden in nature. Indeed, the Hebrew name “Esther” is cognate to another Hebrew word that means “hidden.” Thus, our job in exile is to see the Hand of G-d even within nature.

Many people make the mistake of believing that our problems are the results of corrupt politicians, white-collar criminals, or terrorists. Nothing can be further from the truth. Rather, G-d Himself controls every aspect of nature.

R’ Mendel Kaplan was known to speak with a very broken English. He came to America at a late stage in his life and was unable to master the English language. He used to bring a newspaper to class and ask his students to read it for him. He then told them that he would teach them how to interpret the articles that they read. His message was that a person needs Da’as Torah in order to properly interpret events that happen in the world.

The story of Purim teaches us that G-d controls every aspect of nature. Indeed, the very name “Purim” means “lots.” The reference is to the lots that Haman drew to determine the date on which it was most favorable to exterminate the Jewish people. Thus, even the date that he ultimately selected was not mere “chance.”     ​


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